Friday, June 26, 2009

And So We Work!

Does "Heaven help those who helps themselves"?

There are actually a few scriptures which could be said to support this statement. It is a statement attributed to Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanac (1757). ("God helps them who help themselves." )
2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 says: "Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you. And we did not eat anyone's bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. For even when we were here with you, we gave you this command, anyone unwilling to work should not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living."

And so we work!

Deeply Disappointed

The news last week that Senator John Ensign had an affair with one of his employees, and the crushing news today that Governor Mark Sanford (who many conservatives felt could be a strong candidate for president in 2012) has also confessed to an affair with a woman in Argentina, are stark reminders that the collapse of morality in our culture affects everyone.

It is evident everywhere -- from our children in broken homes to the titans of Wall Street to the halls of political power. For Christians, the good news is not that we are perfect (we are not), but that we are forgiven.

Thank you, Heavenly Father!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Water and Fire

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." Isaiah 43:2

We live in a world that is plagued by the effects of sin and the curse, where even the most godly Christian is subject to the ravages of disease, accident, old age, famine, drought, and pestilence, and the sins and sinful choices of others.

Many times our suffering is deserved, due to the consequences of our personal sin or improper choices. The consequent suffering may be the direct result of our actions or may be the chastisement of God to correct our behavior. God may also bring difficulties into our lives to mold our character, making us more like His dear Son. Whatever the cause, there are times when we must go through "deep waters." But we do not face them alone.

God has not promised to keep our lives free from times of distress, but He has promised to be with us through them and to use them to bring about our ultimate sanctification.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Diamonds, Pearls And A Sword

And take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17b

Depending on whom you talk to, in which sport, “The best defense is a good offense” or “The best offense is a good defense.” Perhaps they both have value in different situations. But when it comes to living the Christian life, it appears the apostle Paul is going with “the best offense is a good defense.”

In Paul’s discussion of the Christian’s spiritual armor, all of the elements of armor he mentions are defensive in nature—the belt, breastplate, protection for the feet, the shield, and the helmet—except for one: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The Bible is the only offensive weapon we have at our disposal among the armor of God. Because Christians are constantly subjected to the “fiery darts” of the evil one, it makes sense that our ability to stay spiritually alive is a function of our defensive armor. But there are times for offense as well—for going on the attack. And our weapon is the same one that Jesus used to defeat Satan: the promises of God (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).

How sharp is the edge of your sword? How quickly can you access a promise of God when you are under attack? Don’t be caught off-guard in the midst of the battle.

The Bible is a rock of diamonds, a chain of pearls, the sword of the Spirit.

Seek My Face

My holy people; have you entered in, have you pressed in? I tell you, now is a time and a season to enter into new openings, into new works, into new effectual doors: for as you have entered in yourself, I will cause doors to open to you. Have you entered in, have you pressed in?
This is the prerequisite for walking through these new doors, for I am looking for those who will exercise faith in what I have told them. If you find yourself in a desert place, examine yourself. Did you enter into the level of intimacy that I have convinced you is available to you?
Think it not some strange thing that you must press in. For it is through preaching and pressing in that My Kingdom is advanced: knock and it shall be opened to you, seek and you will find, ask and it shall be given you.
Now, right now, is your time of pressing in. I will show you how to enter into the portal that is opened in your area. I have opened a window that will be an access point for even greater intimacy with Me. Do not move ahead without it, for you desperately need My communion to be able to satisfy the thirst and hunger of your broken soul. I am.
Seek My Face. Call upon My Name. Seek Me, find Me and I will open multiple doors of intimate communion and service to you. Knock and it shall be opened to you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sharpen Your Weapons

So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.Luke 5:16

A wild boar stood under a tree and rubbed his tusks against the trunk. A fox passing by asked him why he was doing this when there was no danger from either hunters or hounds. He replied, "I do it intentionally; for it would not be wise to have to sharpen my weapons just at the time I ought to be using them."
As Christians, we should be sharpening our spiritual tusks every day through Bible reading and prayer because attacks from the world will come at us at all times, and as the boar so aptly pointed out, it would not be wise for us to prepare for battle just at the time it begins.
The Bible says to “Be ready in season and out of season,” and Jesus set the example of how to do this by consistently getting alone to spend time with His Father and using Scripture to fight against Satan (2 Timothy 4:2). If our sinless Savior placed such importance on preparing in order to protect against spiritual attack, we can be sure it should be a priority for all of us.

The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life.

James L. Christensen

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Warrior's Prayer

Based upon the Holy Bible verses found at Ephesians 6:11-17, this prayer is for spiritual warriors.

The Warrior's Prayer

Heavenly Father, Your warrior prepares for battle. Today I claim victory over Satan by putting on the whole armor of God!
I put on the Girdle of Truth! May I stand firm in the truth of Your Word so I will not be a victum of Satan's and his demons' lies.
I put on the breastplate of Righteousness! May it guard my heart from evil so I will remain pure and holy, protected under the blood of Jesus Christ.
I put on the Shoes of Peace! May I stand firm in the Good News of the Gospel so Your peace will shine through me and be a light to all I encounter.
I take the Shield of Faith! May I be ready for Satan's fiery darts of doubt, denial and deceit so I will not be vulnerable to spiritual defeat.
I put on the Helmet of Salvation! May I keep my mind focused on You so Satan will not have a stronghold on my thoughts.
I take the Sword of the Spirit! May the two edged sword of Your Word be ready in my hands so I can expose the tempting words of Satan.
By faith your warrior has put on the whole armor of God! I am prepared to live this day, in spiritual victory!
In His most Holy Name!!! Amen

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Indecent Exposure

I put on righteousness, and it clothed me. Job 29:14

None of us wants to be indecently exposed; we make sure we’re dressed when we leave home. But what of our spiritual clothing? The Bible uses the command “put on” in telling us how to prepare for every day. Job said that every day he put on the garment of righteousness and it clothed him. Isaiah tells us to put on strength and the breastplate of righteousness (Isaiah 51:9; 59:17). Peter said that rather than putting on costly apparel, we should wear the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4). Paul wrote, “Put on the armor of light… put on the new man… put on tender mercies, kindness, and humility… put on love… put on the breastplate of faith… put on the whole armor of God.”

It’s summed up in Romans 13:14: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

The process of preparing our minds and hearts for each day is as important as putting on our clothes in the morning. Never let your soul be indecently exposed.

The best earrings that a woman can wear are the earrings of hearing the Word with attention.
Charles Spurgeon

Friday, June 5, 2009

The "Old Serpent"

I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.2 Corinthians 11:3

Imagine being a seven-year-old boy watching television with your buddy. Suddenly you feel something move on the sofa behind you. You adjust the cushions, and a huge snake slithers across the fabric and falls into a ball at your feet. That happened recently to two boys in Brooklyn. They screamed for help, and soon the police had evacuated their 62nd Street apartment. But even the police were spooked, and it was the Animal Care and Control Center that finally removed the boa from the room. The snake had apparently crawled into the apartment through the plumbing.
It’s a lesson to us all. The “old serpent” is closer than we think. He creeps into our homes, slithers through our offices, and tries to deceive us just as he deceived Eve. Our greatest defense is our “sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” The devil can’t do much with a person who is sincerely and purely devoted to the Lord Jesus. He has no answer to a committed disciple and no strategy against the blood of the risen Savior.
Satan has three titles given in the Scriptures… a dragon, to note his malice; a serpent, to note his subtlety, and a lion to note his strength.

Walk Hand In Hand With Me

And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Acts 19:18

My holy people; these are the fruits of My servants, walking hand-in-hand with Me. Are you My servant and are you walking hand-in-hand with Me?
Come out and be separate from the leaven of the Pharisees, from the worldly system that has invaded the church. I have called you to hidden prayer and open reward. I have called you to hearing, seeing and following. I have called you to be a resting place in Me. I have called you to have an undivided heart toward Me.
The heart is desperately wicked, above all else and who shall know it? I know it. I am telling you it is high time to lay aside what I am through with and move on following Me.
You sing songs, you say prayers, you fast and you decree, but still you do not embrace, you do not open yourself up to Me and My power. Do not try to preserve the system you are part of. Lay it aside like a filthy rag. Follow Me.
When those I send come, do not reject what I am doing, but instead open yourself up to My moving. You do not need to be praying for Me to send what I have already done. Instead open yourself up to Me, create an environment that attracts Me and you will see Me move like you have read about. It is time to have adventures with Me, but you must reach out and open yourself up to moving in My power. This is the greatest expression of love that you, My holy people, can express. For as you move into the demonstration of My Spirit and power, you walk hand-in-hand with Me.
Today I am shaking. I have cursed the fig tree that you have been part of for so long, the religious system that is all about words but not the demonstration of the Spirit and power. Will you hear Me? Will you wake up? Will your heart awaken to My heart cry instead of your own? For those that will heed My call; I have prepared an open door. It is time to step through that open door and become all that I have prepared for you to be. Step through this portal and cross over into a new day, a new time, a new dimension of the working of My Kingdom.
Those that step over will no longer just be My holy people, but will become My radiant ones. Seek My Face. Open yourself fully to Me. Step over into the demonstration of the Spirit and power. Shine brilliantly for My glory and fame. For I love you and I care compassionately for you and desire above all else that you bear much fruit to My glory.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Toy Soldiers

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Ephesians 6:10

You’re entering a war zone when visiting the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum. The largest display of toy soldiers in the world is arranged in dramatic scenes to tell the history of war in miniature.
Twenty different world battles from ancient Egypt to World War II are refought using detailed, individually-sculpted figures. It reminds us that the history of the world has repeatedly been determined by wars and their outcomes.
We’re also entering a war zone when we begin the Christian life, but we aren’t toy soldiers and our battles aren’t miniaturized. According to Scripture, we struggle “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
We’re to be fully aware that temptation is lurking behind every bush, demons are opposing our every step, and our “flesh” is continually making treasonous overtures trying to undercut our spiritual progress. We’re more apt to be victorious when we realize we’re at war.

Our temptations can be turned into stepping stones leading to nobility of character. By divine grace, all of us can be victors.
Herbert Lockyer